How to Determine How Many Curtains Needed for Window Width

Personal preference determines how many curtains for a window, and not set measurements.

No Stack-back

The number of curtains for a window depends on personal preference.The number of curtains for a window depends on personal preference.
Decide how you want the curtains to look before taking width measurements. After a little math, you will have the correct size curtains based on personal needs. Decide if you want one panel that opens left or right, two panels that open to the left and right or even three panels. When closed, will the panels stretch evenly across the window or will they wave? When the curtains are open, do you want them to cover part of the window or do you want them completely off the window? This is called stack-back. Make these decisions, then begin measuring.

Step 1

Measure 6 inches from the left edge of the top of the window. Using a pencil, make a mark on the wall at this measurement.

Step 2

Measure 6 inches from the right edge of the top of the window. Using a pencil, make a mark on the wall at this measurement.

Step 3

Measure the distance between the two marks. This is the size of the pole, rod or track for the curtains. Use this measurement for a single panel that does not wave.

Step 4

Divide the measurement by 2 to determine the width of two panels. Divide the measurement by three if you want three panels.

Step 5

Multiply the widths by 1.5 if you want the curtains to wave when closed.

Stack-back

Step 1

Measure the distance from one end of the window to the other. Do not measure past the window.

Step 2

Divide the window measurement by 6 if you want two panels. Add that number to the window width. The final measurement is the length of the curtain rod required for the curtains.

Step 3

Divide the window measurement by 3 if you want a single panel. Multiply that number by 2 and add the result to the window width measurement. The final measurement is the length of the curtain rod required for one curtain.

Step 4

Divide the rod measurement by 2 to determine the width of two panels. Divide by 3 if you want three panels.

Step 5

Multiply the widths by 1.5 if you want the curtains to wave when closed.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil

Tips

  • If you already have a rod, pole or track installed on the window, simply measure the width to get the correct measurement. Follow the rest of the steps accordingly.
  • Regardless of curtain styles, the width measurement remains the same. Height measurement is the only thing that changes based on the type of curtain.
  • If using a curtain pole, the rounded ends of the poles, called finials, are not included in the width measurement. They will stick out beyond the measurement. Keep that in mind when purchasing the curtain pole.
  • If you have two windows side-by-side, measure the width for both windows together and purchase a curtain rod, pole or track that fits across them. Then determine the panel width for individual windows.
  • The only time it is necessary to measure width to determine how many curtains for one window is if you already have a specific set of curtains in mind. If you just have to have those curtains, measure the width of the window and then divide that measurement by the width of the curtains. The number you get is the number of curtains required. If you get an odd number, such as 1.5, round up to the next whole number. If you are making your own curtains, add 4 inches to the width measurement for sewing hems.

Warnings

  • Every window is different, and so is every curtain. No measurement is going to be exact.
  • Do not assume that every window in the house has the same measurement. Measure each window.

About the Author

Marilla Mulwane has been writing professionally since 2005. She has published a fantasy novel for young adults and writes articles on literature, pets, video games and tattoos. Her poetry has been featured on the website and products for the nonprofit organization HALos. She graduated from the State University of New York, Oneonta with a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing.